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Saturday, October 4, 2014

#BookReview: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs

That Rob Peace dies so young isn't a spoiler.  The author tells you up front in the title that it's going to happen. But to watch such a promising life squelched is still tragic, regardless of how it came to be.  Jeff Hobbs goes into lengthy detail to explain how his college roommate, a man with a degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics from Yale, came to be gunned down in a basement in Newark less than 10 years after graduation.
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Changes are Afoot!

You may or may not have noticed that I've been taking more frequent blogging breaks and posting sporadically when I do blog.  That's happened for a few reasons, but mostly because I'd rather read than review any day.  But if I want the good people that publish books to continue sending me books I want to read, I have to review them.  However, I don't have to review them all here.

Starting this week, I'll be posting reviews of books that I've given four or five luxurious chairs to here.  All other books will be reviewed very briefly over on my Goodreads account as time allows.  Also, instead of posting Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I'll be posting on Saturdays and Sundays, since those tend to be the days that people read my posts the most.

Occasionally, I'll post during the week, but only if I'm participating in a blog tour or if a publisher requests that I post on a specific date.  Otherwise, check me out on the weekends.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

#BookReview: Into the Go-Slow - Bridgett M. Davis

Often when someone dies, our memories of them become exaggerated.  We remember all of their good traits and focus on them as if they were some kind of superhuman while they walked the earth.  Instead of reflecting on their bad qualities and remembering them as they were, it's almost as if we put on blinders and elevate them an angel-like level.  In Bridgett M. Davis' Into the Go-Slow, we find 21 year old Angie tracing the footsteps of her deceased sister, Ella, and trying to fit in the missing pieces of the puzzle that she was.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

#BookReview: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell - Nadia Hashimi #Giveaway

It’s not shocking that being a boy is more advantageous than being a girl in most parts of the world. Every morning in Afghanistan there are girls that wake up, dress and leave the house acting as boys, or bacha posh, as they’re called. The reasons for this vary, but the bottom line is that it is safer and more privileges are afforded when you’re seen as a boy. In some homes, girls become bacha posh because it allows them to work and bring in income to a household that greatly needs it. In others, mothers need a child that can run to the store for them. As bacha posh, it is safer and allowable for a boy to walk the streets when women and girls cannot. The stories of two generations of women posing as bacha posh are at the heart of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

#BookReview: Any Man I Want - Michele Grant

Katrina Montgomery is a hell cat. As the youngest in her family, she’s used to getting what she wants, even if it means inconveniencing others. That attitude served her well as a model and even now, as a fashion designer. Up until a certain point, it has also served her well in the romance department. But the hell cat runs across a scorned man determined to bring her, and the business she’s created with her family and friends, down. Enter her knight in shining armor, or at least a well-tailored suit, Carter Parks.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

#BookTour: Bergdorf Blondes - Plum Sykes

I’m usually a fan of chick lit, but I’d have to say I’m not so much a fan of Bergdorf Blondes. I tend to lean toward chick lit with protagonists that find themselves in ridiculous situations, usually by their own fault, but there is some redeeming quality about them that makes them likable. The Becky Bloomwoods of the world may spend money like it’s water, but, at heart, they’re good people. I’m not so sure the same can be said of the characters in Bergdorf Blondes.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

#BookReview: The Language of Silence by Peggy Webb

From the first time Ellen saw Wayne Blair, when she was in the first grade and he was a senior in high school, she was starstruck.  And like a predator, he stalked his prey, waiting until she had graduated college and become a school teacher before drawing her into his web.  And since she'd dreamed of becoming Mrs. Wayne Blair, married to one of the wealthiest and most important men in town, since she was a little girl, it was easy for him to ensnare her.  We already know that all that glitters isn't gold though, and Wayne Blair was certainly no prize.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

#140orLess: Don't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

#140orLess is a new meme where I review a book in 140 characters or less.


Annoying, angsty teen runs away, exposing her parents’ failing marriage & proving things aren’t always what they seem. Good subplots help.








384pp
Published: July 2014

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#BookReview: Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

How good is Big Little Lies? Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman have already optioned the rights to it  and it just came out weeks ago. It really is that good. Set in an idyllic beach town in Australia, it’s a story about bullying, lying and assumptions and centers around three unlikely friends.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

#BookReview: I Did Not Kill My Husband by Liu Zhenyun

In reading more lit from Asian authors, I'm finding that like Russian literature, there's almost always a moral to the story.  I Did Not Kill My Husband from Liu Zhenyun is certainly no exception to this rule. Li Xuelian is a foolish woman when we meet her and when we leave her.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#BookReview: The Story Hour - Thrity Umrigar

I’m so blown away by the latest from Thrity Umrigar. I was a bit underwhelmed by her previous book, The World We Found, but I loved The Space Between Us, so my hope was that her new book would lean more toward The Space than The World. It seems my prayers were answered because The Story Hour is a fantastic read.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

#BookReview: The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride - Carl Weber

If asked, I would be hard pressed to tell you whose work is more unbelievable and overly dramatic these days, Tyler Perry or Carl Weber. Both are experts at taking the far-fetched and turning it into something palatable. I’ve missed out on the last few Tyler Perry movies, but I think I can safely say that Carl Weber gives him a run for his money.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

#BookReview: Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James - David Ritz

Rick James sure did think highly of himself. I know I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know, especially if you saw him strut across a stage in the 80s, but wow. From his belief that he musically influenced Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to his strange one-sided feud with Prince, who he thought was copying his style and stealing his ideas, it’s apparent that cocaine really is a hell of a drug.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#BookReview: For Once in My Life - Marianne Kavanagh

A series of missed connections is the premise behind Kavanagh’s For Once in My Life. It’s a boy meets girl, eventually, if you will. The problem is that while the characters are likable enough, the lead up to them actually meeting drags on for so long that readers could potentially stop caring if they’ll ever meet.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

#BookReview: On the Other Side - Michelle Janine Robinson

True Life: I don’t know what book I’m reading. No, really. I started this book thinking it was a different book, then realized almost halfway through that none of the characters mentioned had showed up and the story line was extremely different from what I’d read in the summary. Somehow, when the publisher uploaded the book I was supposed to read, this got uploaded instead, but with the cover and acknowledgements from the first book, so I was clueless to the fact that what I was reading what not what I was really reading. Make sense?
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Friday, August 8, 2014

#BookReview: Charlie Glass's Slippers by Holly McQueen

If life is just one big ball, why isn’t Charlie Glass having any fun? In this modern day twist on Cinderella; Charlie is the youngest daughter of famed shoe designer, Elroy Glass. The product of his second marriage, she’s always been shunned by both the stepmother and stepsisters she was forced to live with after her own mother’s death. Elroy’s failing health leaves Charlie playing nursemaid and at the mercy of her vile stepmother. But all is not lost! Cinderella is a fairy tale with a happy ending and, though this is no fairy tale, it’s safe to say that Charlie will end up with a happy ending of her own.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#BookReview: The Other Side of the Pillow - Zane

Guest Post:  Today's post was written by the fabulous Dominique White who lives over at The Sweet Escape where she blogs about her adventures as a Literary Fiction/Romance/ Women's Fiction reader and writer. Her work has appeared at IndieInk.org, Short-Story.net and Storyfix.com. She enjoys reading (lots and lots of reading) writing, candy, Sprite, and things flavored with raspberry... but not raspberries themselves.

Review:  Yep, you read that right. Zane has penned another novel!

When I told my friends that Zane was publishing a new novel, I could sense them bracing for the storyline reveal. Zane is the author you look up when you want to read about characters getting down, in the biblical sense (if that reference even make sense, because....anyway). Imagine the surprised eyebrow raises and concerned forehead lines that appeared when I explained that, no seriously, Zane wrote a novel. It's erotic fiction,but an actual novel with like... a story.

"Does it have a plot?" My bestie asked. You know? It does.

I try not to rehash stories in my reviews, but just from a point of reference, The Other Side of the Pillow opens with the prologue, which is a scene from Jemistry's past. Granted, if any of her exes are like the piece of excrement from the prologue, then Jemistry deserved to be bitter for a long, long time. Forward to chapter one and we catch up with Jemistry (who I really want to call JerMajesty) years later. She's raised herself up by her bootstraps and become a successful high school Principal. She loves her job and the school and she's dedicated to her students.

But that's really where the good part ends for her, because outside of work Jemistry seems miserable. She's taken what the world handed to her and thrown it back. Instead of seeing men as partners, equals, someone to build a life with, she sees them as sex machines, objects placed in her path for her pleasure. She is angry...this pulses from her, especially when she's uttering a heartfelt man bashing poem at a poetry slam one night.

Tevin is your typical tall dark and handsome hunk, out for the night and not looking to meet anyone. He comes face to face with Jemistry's hurt and pain as he listens to her words... but instead of tucking his tail between his legs like most men, he decides to approach her.

Let me just stop here and say.........really? My theory about men is that they are astute, especially about bitterness or desperation. They can smell either from a mile away and they either avoid it or take advantage of it. Right away my ears are perked because I do not want to read about this female lead slicing this guy's manhood off.

This is a love story, so of course the two hit it off. We knew that was gonna happen, it's not a spoiler or a surprise. My surprise lies in how quickly it happens. For two people who have trust and security issues, they move awfully quickly into a relationship. Jemistry goes from 'I hate you and I want to cut your thing off' to 'yes, baby, I'll make you dinner and massage your shoulders and just be quiet, because you've had a long, hard day.'. I'd imagine that someone that spent years being abused and mistreated, that had so much anger inside her that it spewed into a microphone on a weekly basis would have resisted much longer and much harder.

For his part, I found Tevin to be controlling about certain aspects of their relationship. I'll say I was surprised at how often Jemistry caved to what he wanted instead of him listening to what was important to her.

The story line is predictable if you know the formula-- boy meets girl, boy and girl fall for each other, boy loses girl and has to fight for her, boy and girl reunite. The story doesn't waver much from this and for those who love a great romance and a happy ending (so to speak) Zane does bring it.

My nits with this novel are that it's predictable (but romances are, for the most part), and the dialog is stiff. There are a lot of 'morals wrapped in seven line paragraphs' and self serving speeches full of words real people don't use in regular conversation, no matter how smart they are. Using the word purchased instead of bought, for example, drove me up a wall. For someone who's been in the game as long as Zane has, I expect better dialog.

This is erotic fiction and what Zane does best is boil down the sexual experience into prose that make you feel like you're there in the room. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to the reader, but as someone who's read a bit of erotic fiction/erotic romance, it wasn't a bad thing at all. Not. At. All.

I gave this novel three stars, which means it was good, but not earth moving for me. If you're a Zane fan, you'll really enjoy this novel and if you're new to her catalog, it'd be good to start with a plot based story like this one before jumping into her more sex based novels.

Want another opinion on Zane's latest? Be sure to check out my review over at The Sweet Escape.







288pp
Published: August 2014
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are blogger's own.


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Monday, August 4, 2014

#BookReview: A Pinch of Ooh La La by Renee Swindle

There's so much to love about this book.  At first glance, it may seem like a typical girl meets boy story, but it's so much more.  I'll get into what really won me over, but first let me give you a quick synopsis.

A bad breakup left Abbey Ross living on her couch with too much time on her hands.  Reliving the public humiliation of finding out on the big screen that her fiance was cheating on her dealt her a huge blow.  But out of that incident is born her idea to attend culinary school and then open her own bakery in Oakland.  With her bakery a success, her best friend since high school, Bendrix, pushes her to get back out on the dating scene; when she doesn't take enough of an initiative, he does it for her.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

See you in August...





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Monday, July 14, 2014

#BookReview: Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

There are some things you can always count on in a Mary Kay Andrews book: a smart leading lady, a scoundrel for the leading man, a comic relief providing sidekick, someone out to ruin the leading lady, a cantankerous older person and, almost always, a Savannah setting.  In Save the Date, she continues the formula that has worked for her so well and continues to do so.
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Friday, July 11, 2014

#UMightLike: Time of the Locust by Morowa Yejide

U Might Like is a new meme where I'll feature books that are from genres I don't normally read, but I think some of you might enjoy.  Please note that I've not read this book.

Time of the Locust
256pp
Published: June 2014

Goodreads Synopsis: Travel into the heart and mind of an extraordinary autistic boy in this deeply imaginative debut novel of a mother’s devotion, a father’s punishment, and the power of love.

Sephiri is an autistic boy who lives in a world of his own making, where he dwells among imagined sea creatures that help him process information in the “real world” in which he is forced to live. But lately he has been having dreams of a mysterious place, and he starts creating fantastical sketches of this strange, inner world.

Brenda, Sephiri’s mother, struggles with raising her challenged child alone. Her only wish is to connect with him—a smile on his face would be a triumph. Meanwhile, Sephiri’s father, Horus, is sentenced to life in prison, making life even lonelier for Brenda and Sephiri. Yet prison is still not enough to separate father and son. In the seventh year of his imprisonment and the height of his isolation, Horus develops supernatural mental abilities that allow him to reach his son. Memory and yearning carry him outside his body, and through the realities of their ordeals and dreamscape, Horus and Sephiri find each other—and find hope in ways never imagined.



Sound interesting? Be sure to let me know if you pick up a copy!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

#BookReview: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

I’ve not read Giffin before, but I’ve seen Something Borrowed and somewhat enjoyed it, so I thought there was a good chance I would like Heart of the Matter. Also, I found it on sale at Tuesday Morning for $ 3.99 so there’s that. At any rate, it was an okay listen, but I’ve noticed what I could be a trend in Giffin stories and a fellow book blogger confirmed it: there’s always an affair.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

#BookReview: Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck

To exist without being seen by anyone…somehow Ellen Homes has managed to do just that. Invisible Ellen is a story that’s reminiscent of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, not that Ellen can taste people’s emotions, as Rose is able to do. But Ellen has the ability to simply disappear, much like Rose’s brother, Joseph. Except Ellen has not really disappeared, she’s just learned to make herself as inconspicuous as possible.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#BookReview: The Amado Women by Desiree Zamorano

If we knew each other's secrets, what comforts we should find. - John Churton Collins

Desiree Zamorano “ is appalled by stereotypical rendering of Latinas in mainstream literature, saying that true-to-life middle-class Latinas are invisible in the fabric of American culture.”  I’d have to agree with her. Whether it be in literature, in the media or TV programming, too often people of color are relegated to the roles that the “mainstream” allows for them. Typically, Latinas are cast as maids or cleaners of some sort, living in low-income neighborhoods, maintaining close family ties. Even in writing from some Latin authors, it seems to be a struggle to create characters that step outside of the set boundaries. So it’s refreshing to see Zamorano’s approach to the story of three women and their mother in The Amado Women.
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Monday, June 30, 2014

#BookReview: Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Okay, you know how you’re reading something and you know it’s fiction and you tell yourself something like this could never really happen, but then you start thinking, what if? That’s exactly what happened to me as I read Forty Acres. From start to finish, I didn’t want to put this book down. It was just that fascinating.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

#BookReview: Long Division by Kiese Laymon

I’m so in love with this book that I’m not even sure where to start. I first listened to it back in February and couldn’t find the words to review. I gave it another listen last week and, this time, I took notes. Understand that I rarely take notes on books, but I ended up with 10 pages of them. It’s not that the concepts of the book are difficult to understand, it’s that there are so many gems to be found within that I didn’t want to miss any.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#BookReview: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

In a family so full of secrets that it’s a wonder members aren’t choking on them, it’s really no surprise that when the eldest daughter, Lydia, goes missing, no one can fathom how or why. I was absolutely blown away by how well Celeste Ng dug into the insecurities of each family member and how it affected how they interacted with each other and the outside world. By the time I finished Everything I Never Told You, it felt like the layers had just been peeled off of the inauthentic lives the whole family had been living. Wow!
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

#Giveaway: Good Morning, Mr. Mandela: A Memoir

Tender, heartfelt, and intimate, GOOD MORNING, MR. MANDELA: A Memoir tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s long-time personal assistant and “honorary granddaughter” Zelda la Grange (Viking; Strict On-sale: June 24, 2014; 978-0-525-42828-2; $28.95). In this revealing book la Grange pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him—a compassionate teacher who taught her the most valuable lessons of her life. La Grange introduces readers to the Mandela who was as kind and generous as we all imagine, but who was also stubborn and surprisingly human. She also gives us insight into Mandela’s relationships with fans and contacts, both famous and infamous: from Queen Elizabeth, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Bono, and Morgan Freeman to Muammar Gaddafi.

A white Afrikaner, Zelda la Grange grew up in segregated South Africa, supporting the regime and the rules of Apartheid. Her conservative family referred to the imprisoned Nelson Mandela as “a terrorist.” Yet just a few years after his release and the end of Apartheid, she would be traveling the world by Mr. Mandela’s side, having grown to respect and cherish the man she would come to call ‘Khulu,’ or ‘grandfather.’

GOOD MORNING, MR. MANDELA tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman’s life, beliefs, and prejudices were utterly transformed by the man she had been taught was the enemy. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young secretary in her twenties who rose from a job in a government typing pool to become one of the President’s most loyal and devoted associates. During her twenty years of service, la Grange supported Mandela in dealing with political tension, personal tragedies, and the many complications of worldwide fame. She remained loyal to him to the very end of his life, despite outside attempts to ostracize her. Her frank, down-to-earth memoir confronts the challenges and celebrates the successes of a life devoted to her beloved ‘Khulu.’

This is a book about love and second chances, and one that honors the lasting and inspiring gifts of one of the great men of our time. It offers a rare, intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and his remarkable life and legacy, as well as moving proof of the power we all have to change.

Thanks to the publisher's generosity, I have a copy to give away to one lucky winner.  Click here to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Monday, June 23, 2014

#BookReview: Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok

Charlie Wong has led a sheltered life in New York's Chinatown.  At 22, she still lives at home with her father and her younger sister, Lisa.  Thanks to her father, the best noodle maker in Chinatown, she has a job washing dishes at the restaurant where he works.  But Charlie is clumsy and washing dishes for a living certainly isn't her passion.  Her late mother was once a star ballerina in Beijing, but Charlie must have taken after her father because she has not an ounce of her mother's grace, or does she?
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Monday, June 16, 2014

#BookReview: All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

I don’t want to say Jennifer Weiner has lost her magic. Coming on the heels of reading her first book, Good in Bed, recently, it would seem that she’s hit a bit of a snag. The same long, meandering time line that bogged her down in her debut novel seems to make an appearance here as well. The biggest difference between Cannie Shapiro (Good in Bed) and her new heroine, Allison, is their choice of addiction. While Cannie was addicted to her story of abandonment and the pain she feels as a result of that, Allison is addicted to uppers, downers and everything in between.
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Friday, June 13, 2014

#BookReview: Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset

Though the theme of passing is one we don’t see very often in present-day lit, it was popular in the early to mid-20th century. We’ve seen how it played out in Charles Chestnutt’s The House Behind the Cedars (1900), Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929) and William White’s Lost Boundaries (1948). In each story, a character (or characters) makes the conscious decision to transition from being black or biracial to white as if simply shedding one’s skin or race guarantees happiness. As characters in the aforementioned books found out, in Jessie Redmond Fauset’s Plum Bun, Angela Murray soon learns that while white privilege may provide her with some creature comforts, there is much sacrifice to be made in forgetting who you are and from where you came.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#BookReview: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

Leona Helmsley has nothing on little Malka Treynovsky. I can’t say she was born with a bad attitude, but she was definitely born with a sharp tongue. Abandoned by her parents shortly after arriving in the New World from Russia, she’s taken in by the Italian family of the man who hit her with his ice truck. They never let Malka forget for one minute that she’s not really one of them, no matter how long she stays with the family and helps with the family business.
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Monday, June 9, 2014

#BookReview: Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

From the outside looking in, it can seem as if others are leading the perfect life. While you’re stuck with a screaming baby, brooding teenagers and a husband who barely communicates with you, your best friend is living the glamorous life. On the flip side, you’re an entertainment reporter on one of the hottest shows in town, but instead of the family you’ve always wanted, you’re skilled in the art of the one night stand with younger men whose names you can’t even remember.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#BookReview: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she'll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.
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Monday, June 2, 2014

#BookReview: China Dolls by Lisa See

Offering an interesting perspective on the lives of Asian Americans in pre-World War II San Francisco, Lisa See hits it out of the park with China Dolls. It seems so rare that American fiction allows depictions of Asians outside of the narrow confines that it has created for them. Often, their stories are set in their native countries of China, Japan, etc. By creating characters that live in Anytown, USA, Lisa See humanizes stories that are often overlooked in mainstream lit.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Repost: Featured Author for December - Maya Angelou


This month's featured author is Maya Angelou. I had someone else in mind, but at trivia night a few weeks ago she was the subject of one of the questions. I was amazed that my table mates didn't know more about her. The average person knows that she wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or they remember her inaugural speech for President Clinton, On the Pulse of Morning. You may know her for her poetic stylings in Still I Rise or for the younger generation, as an elder in Tyler Perry movies.

Readers, I'm here to tell you that Madame Angelou has lived! I picked up her then complete collection as a freshmen in college 20 years ago and was blown away. The books shown above cover her life from the beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969); the ages 17 through 19 as a single mother working as a prostitute and madam in a brothel in Gather Together in My Name (1974); Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (1976) covers her marriage to a Greek sailor, her dance career (did you know she once partnered with THE Alvin Ailey?), and the recording of her first album.

The Heart of A Woman (1981) reflects on her time as a member of the noted Harlem Writer's Guild; her time in Egypt and Ghana; her close friendship with Malcolm X; and raising a black man in America. All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) finds her back in the United States working as a songwriter for Roberta Flack, writing short stories and preparing for her role in Alex Haley's Roots miniseries.

When I tell you Madam Angelou has lived a full life, she truly has. As an impressionable young woman, I was so blown away by her story. Recounting now all that she has done in the time period that's not even covered by these books is even more stunning. My hope is that you will take the time to get to know and appreciate this woman who is truly an American treasure.

Originally posted Dec. 4, 2009
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Friday, May 23, 2014

#BookReview: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

Cannie Shapiro has more issues than the Philadelphia Examiner, the paper where she works as a weddings feature/celebrity gossip columnist. She’s overweight, she has daddy and abandonment issues, she can’t stand her mother’s girlfriend and she’s on a break from her boyfriend. Well, technically, it’s a break. He seems to think it’s over and is fodder for his new column called “Good in Bed.” As you can tell, Cannie has a lot going on.
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#BookReview: The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown

I like books set in small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business. I wouldn’t want to live in one myself, but I do enjoy reading about them. The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee had all of the necessary requirements of small town living. There’s Viola Prescott, the grand dame of local society, who is determined to have her way no matter what. There’s Agnes, who has been feuding with Viola for as long as anyone can remember. And there’s a festival, though they call it a jubilee in this instance. If you’re familiar with the holiday festival in Steel Magnolias, this is the kind of thing I’m looking for in these books, and Blue-Ribbon delivered.
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Monday, May 19, 2014

#BookReview: Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton

Fans of the oldest Braxton sister already know her story as it has played out in the tabloids and in the reality show with her sisters, Braxton Family Values.  There's not a whole lot to be learned in her new memoir, Unbreak My Heart, that we don't already know, but she does provide some insight into why she's made some of the decisions she's made.  She's open and honest about her relationships with her parents, her sisters and even her ex-husband.
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Books I Can't Wait to Read! Summer 2014 edition

Summer is upon us, though you'd never know by the weather.  Here in St. Louis, it's 90 one day and 50 the next.  None of that matters, because summer is coming and with it, warmer weather and some fantabulous reads.  I've put together a list of books I'm either dying to read or have already read and I'm dying to share them with you.  After making my list, it dawned on me that every book was either written by or about a person of color and, with the exception of two, they were all written by women.  As the recent campaign says, #WeNeedDiverseBooks.  And since one of the reasons I review books here is to shine the light on authors of color, let me share some of those diverse books with you.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#BookReview: Miss Julia's Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross

Hazel Marie and Mr. Pickens are comfortably settled in their home with the babies. James has recovered from the injury that put him out of commission and Granny Wiggins has smoothly transitioned into her role as nanny and housekeeper for Hazel Marie, Lloyd and Mr. Pickens. So now that Miss Julia and Sam have the house to themselves, it only seems right that they start to think about how they’d like to spend their leisure time. Just as they make up their minds to take a trip, they’re waylaid by “stuff.”
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Monday, May 12, 2014

#BookReview: Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley


"How do you know I read?" I asked.  I never talked about books to anyone except my therapist and that one arrogant literature professor." 
"Theon told me.  I asked him did he get jealous with you havin' sex with all those young men and he said that it was only the books made him turn green.  He said that he always felt like he was about to lose you when you were lookin' in a book."

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Friday, May 9, 2014

#BookReview: Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

As the story opens, there’s uncertainty on behalf of the reader about what is going on. Initially, we know that eleven year old Luz Castillo is living in some kind of facility. Her Aunt Tencha visits her, so she’s not without family. Something has happened to put her sister in the hospital and her father in jail and Luz isn’t talking to anyone about anything.
“Julie says the reason I don’t say anything is because I’m in deep pain. Like if pain were something she knew looked like me.”
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